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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Movie Review -- Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

So, DC Comics and Warner Brothers Animation has unleashed the latest in their series of direct-to-video animated films upon the world.  And, as is my way, I ran out and bought it and am spending the weekend watching it.  It's time to take a look at....

Directed by Chris Berkeley, Lauren Montgomery, and Jay Olivia

Starring the voices of Nathan Fillion, Jason Isaacs, Elisabeth Moss, Kelly Hu, Arnold Vosloo, Henry Rollins, and Roddy Piper.  

Backstory:  So, Warner Brothers made the decision that, since only the Batman and Superman animated films sold huge numbers, they'd only make movies about Batman and Superman.  But hey!  There's a Green Lantern movie hitting theatres in another week!  So, they got the go ahead to make a Green Lantern animated film as part of the merchandise tie-in.  They decided to go the route of the similarly titled Batman: Gotham Knight and tell a series of short stories focusing on the wide array of heroes that populate the Green Lantern Corp.  Is this little more than another piece of merchandise, or does it rise above and become it's own film?

Plot:  The villain Krona is preparing to launch an onslaught on the Green Lantern's home planet of Oa.  The rookie Green Lantern Arisia is nervous on the eve of her first battle, so Hal Jordan calms her nerves and inspires her with tales of some of the other Green Lanterns.  The tales are:

  • The First Lantern - The saga of Avra, a lowly scribe chosen to be the first Green Lantern, and how he unlocked the true power of the power rings.
  • Killowog - The tale of the Green Lantern's drill sergeant Killowog, and how he became the hard-ass DI he's known for.
  • Laira - The warrior Lantern Laira, and her first solo mission, where she's sent to reign in an evil despot who's conquered her own planet.  And the despot turns out to be...her father.
  • Mogo Doesn't Socialize - Based on the classic Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons tale, the warrior Bolphunga the Unrelenting goes off to battle Mogo, the greatest Green Lantern of them all.  But when Bolphunga does find Mogo, it's a bit more than he bargained for.  
  • Abin Sur - One of the adventures of Abin Sur, the Lantern before Hal Jordan, as he engages in philosophical debates with Sinestro and learns the ultimate fate of the Green Lantern Corp.  
The final tale, Emerald Knights, catches up with Arisia, as she enters the battle against Krona.  Will she be able to defeat this enemy and write her own chapter in Green Lantern history?

What I Liked:  There's some great outer space action set pieces in this.  As with most of the DC/WB productions, the voice acting is top-notch.  Bolphunga is voiced by wrestling legend Roddy Piper, and the challenges he issues are pure wrestling bluster.  It was great. 

What I Didn't Like:  Well, they used all the same character designs as the other Green Lantern film, First Flight, so I don't know why they just didn't go all the way and make this an official sequel, but they didn't so there ya go. 

Final Verdict:  It's tough to put my finger on.  I wanted to like this one more, but I'm just kind of walking from it going, "Meh."  It doesn't feel like they put a lot of effort into this one.

2.5 Nibs

Bonus Features:  On the Blu-Ray, you get an interview with comic book writer Geoff Johns about how awesome Green Lantern is, a featurette on the history of the Green Lantern Corp, a running commentary with Johns and DC's editor Dan DiDio, a virtual comic, two character profiles on Abin Sur and Laira, 2 Green Lantern-centric episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and a preview of the next animated film, Batman: Year One

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